WHO is FOREVER EVIL's Hooded Prisoner?
CREDIT: DC Comics
In this week's Forever Evil #2, there were plenty of huge revelations, but one thing that still wasn't revealed was the identity of the Crime Syndicate of America's hooded prisoner.
The character came with the CSA from Earth 3 in the final issue of Trinity War and made another appearance in this week's issue. But there have only been a few things revealed about him:
- Male: The person is referred to as "he."
- Drugged: He's being drugged to the point that he's unable to hurt the CSA from under the hood.
- Powerful: He's blamed for almost tearing the CSA apart at some point in the past, although it's not clarified how that was done.
- Ultraman Protected: The other CSA members want to kill the prisoner, but Ultraman wants him alive. He claims it's because the prisoner could be useful if their nemesis returns (the still-unknown entity that destroyed Earth 3). Ultraman specifically says that the prisoner can be "thrown at that thing that came to our Earth."
- Grayson Analogy: For some reason, Owlman says that if Ultraman isn't going to allow the prisoner to be killed, then Owlman isn't going to allow Dick Grayson Nightwing to be killed.
With these clues in mind, we put together a list of the leading theories being bandied about right now — and a few guesses we devised on our own — about who the prisoner under the hood in Forever Evil could be.
Earth 3 Dick Grayson OR Earth 3 Joker
These two characters are both popular guesses among the Internet comics community, but we're addressing them together because they both died in September's Secret Society one-shot by Forever Evil writer Geoff Johns and Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. writer Sterling Gates. And even if they did survive somehow (after all, we're talking about comics…), neither character would make sense for Ultraman to want alive — and Dick Grayson was evil on Earth 3, so he wouldn't have torn the CSA apart. So although we might have supported either of these characters being the hooded prisoner a month ago, we just don't think they're viable options anymore.
A New God
With all the New Gods hopping around DC comics lately, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to think one of them showed up on Earth 3 to make trouble. We already know (from September's Darkseid one-shot) that Darkseid has been Earth-hopping through the DC multiverse, hunting down alternate Earth Supermen to prepare for his rematch with Kal-El. This could easily be a New God who also figured out the multiverse and traveled to Earth 3, attempting to destroy the CSA. It's a longshot, and it's not too exciting a thought, but there's story potential if it's a character that ties into the looming "return of Darkseid" story that DC has been teasing.
Earth 2 Batman
Yes, the Trinity of Earth 2 was pronounced dead in the first issue of Earth 2, but that doesn't prove anything. After all, September's Darkseid one-shot revealed that Earth 2 Superman is probably still alive (on Apolkolips). If Earth 2 Superman survived, what's to say Earth 2 Batman didn't as well? Didn't David Finch once say that Batman's like a cockroach — nothing can kill him? It's also notable that the character is starring in the current Batman/Superman story (although in the past), making him a character that DC might have plans to use. The hero's survival could be explained by simply pointing at the two characters starring in Worlds' Finest (Power Girl and Huntress) — both of whom were mysteriously ported to another Earth during the Earth 2 battle with Darkseid. Could Earth 2 Batman have been similarly ported to Earth 3? It would explain why the hooded prisoner can be drugged (Batman's human). Plus, there's no doubt the experienced Batman of Earth 2 could be effective in tearing apart the CSA, if he somehow landed there.
There's really very little evidence to support this theory, but there's also nothing among the clues to negate the possibility that there's a fast, awesome Wally West under that hood. Fans are certainly holding out hope that Wally West will appear on the main DCU Earth soon, and they point toward a comment by Dan DiDio on his Facebook page that hinted Wally might return in 2013. It might be most appropriate for Johns to bring back Wally, since the writer was so associated with the character in the past. But we're at a loss on how he fits with the story of the New 52 Earth 3 and the fact that it's "opposite" and "evil." How would a good Wally West have gotten on Earth 3? And how would a speedster tear apart the CSA? Then again, just about anything's possible in comics.
Connor Kent of Earth 3
If a version of Lex Luthor existed on Earth 3 — and since the "opposite" would be good — then it's plausible that he created a clone of Ultraman to fight against the CSA — a "Superboy" of sorts (or rather, an "Ultraboy"). But the real evidence for this theory is the way Ultraman acted about the thought of killing the hooded prisoner. It was as if it was personal. And a young, Ultraboy version of himself would be tough for anyone to kill. It would also explain why Owlman made the analogy, "if you won't kill the hooded prisoner, then I won't kill Nightwing." They are both young "copies." It also fits with Ultraman's description of "throwing" the prisoner at their nemesis if he returns — Ultraboy would, theoretically, be ultra powerful.
Martian Manhunter of Earth 3
When Ultraman said the hooded prisoner almost "tore the team apart," he could have been speaking not only about a physical fight, but also a mental one. Martian Manhunter is plenty powerful as a fighter (evidenced by the battle between the main Earth Manhunter and the Justice League). But he's also pretty powerful when he plays deadly mind games. He can read minds, phase and overhear conversations. He can pretend to be other people with his shapeshifting powers. So if Earth 3 has a version of Martian Manhunter, he could have been the character who almost tore apart the Crime Syndicate. Then again, you'd think even a drugged, hooded Manhunter would still be a threat right now — and there would be little reason for Ultraman to want him alive.
There's a theory floating around the internet that the destruction of Earth 3 didn't happen at the hands of Darkseid after all — that it was the Anti-Monitor. It would fit with the red skies that preceded Earth 3's destruction (depicted in September's Secret Society one-shot, and reminiscent of Crisis on Infinite Earths). If that's the case, then Forever Evil might be a lead-in to some type of "Crisis" in the New 52, and what better character to foreshadow a crisis than the Monitor? The fact that DC is embracing its multiverse hints at the possibility the New 52 might have at least one Monitor again. And while drugging the Monitor would seem to be a stretch, it would explain Ultraman's comment about "throwing" the prisoner into a battle against the character that destroyed Earth 3, resulting in a fight between the Monitor and Anti-Monitor.
Alexander Luthor of Earth 3
With the nods in Forever Evil toward former Crime Syndicate of America stories, it would be fitting to also pay homage to another pre-New 52 character from Earth 3 — their version of Lex Luthor, "Alexander" Luthor. In past continuity, Alexander Luthor was a hero who successfully fought against the evil CSA on their Earth. It's also worth noting that in pre-New 52 continuity, Alexander Luthor had a son, Alexander Luthor Jr., who played an important role in Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis. In those former stories, Alex Jr. was the sole survivor of Earth 3, so it would again pay homage to past DC stories if he was pulled from Earth 3 after its destruction. The clues we've been given also fit with Alex being the prisoner — it's possible that he's "drugged" (Alex was not a meta-human), and the hero is smart enough to almost tear apart the CSA.